Communicating to the Masses
In 2016, Blue Hills was invited into the MSBA grant program to identify repair and renovation solutions to address the building’s needs. The existing school was structurally sound; its overall size and the size of individual classrooms and shop areas were adequate to deliver current programs. However, the building required new thermal efficient windows, roofing, MAAB accessibility improvements, installation of fire protection system, new fire alarm, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems with exterior site improvements as well. The direct construction cost for this work was approximately $70M with a total project budget of $87M. Funding approval for this project required a positive vote from all nine member communities. Working with the District, D+W held a series of informational meetings with key stakeholders from each community, outlining the need for the project, defining the scope, schedule and anticipated cost of the renovation, clarifying the MSBA process, providing projections for each member community’s share, outlining borrowing schedules, and identifying the risks to the district if the vote was not passed. The funding approval passed in all nine communities on the first attempt.
Teamwork + Ingenuity Through Unforeseen Challenges
A multi-phased construction approach was developed that would maximize the use of summer recesses (in 2018 and 2019) and continue work throughout the school year working overnight. Despite various challenges and setbacks, with teamwork and ingenuity, the team prevailed and delivered a renovated facility that met expectations and left administration, staff, and students very happy. The project was completed with no safety incidents, no impacts to school operations, and resulted in numerous enhancements and improvements to an aging facility that will allow the school to deliver its program for decades to come.